Large numbers of the community of Lafiagi showed up for the official launch
The extension of the program in Shonga, supported by the Health Insurance Fund, brings quality health care to the doorstep of the community in Lafiagi, Nigeria. The scaling-up of the program with an upgraded clinic in the town of Lafiagi means that more low income families can benefit from the community insurance schemes introduced in Kwara State in 2007. In addition, the Local Government Area has made resources available to support approximately 3,000 community members who can not afford the insurance. According to the Honourable Commissioner of Health dr. Mrs. Asiat A Saka this support ‘fits the principle of good governance on equitable distribution of wealth, which brings us closer to health for all.’
The Commissioner held a speech during the official launch of the scale-up on Wednesday the 22nd of April. The entire town of Lafiagi had gathered in the central square; a festive and well attended occasion filled with vibrant speeches and dance performances. Those present also included: the Deputy Governor of Kwara State, the Emir and representatives of Hygeia, the Health Insurance Fund and PharmAccess.
Sitting second to the right the Deputy Governer and next to him the Honourable Commissioner of Health Dr. Mrs. Asiat A Saka.
Success of program
The extension is another success for this relatively young program and part of the governors strategy to roll out community health insurance throughout Kwara State. Since the introduction in 2007 the scheme has really grown into a community owned program, ensuring quality health care for over 35,000 people and their families in Shonga. And, as stated by Mrs. Saka in her speech, the scheme is on the world map of initiatives for health insurance for low income communities. The insurance program has attracted national leaders to Shonga including the newly appointed Nigerian minister of health to witness the results of the scheme with their own eyes and to use it as a case study for the national program.
The Governor of Kwara State Dr. Bukola Saraki has greatly contributed to this scale-up and the overall success of the program, with his continuous dedication to improving access to quality health care for all. His goal to provide quality health care for the entire state has been a key focus of his administration. Another important step in this direction is the use of local resources to cover the fees of the poorest, or in the words of Mrs. Saka, the poor rural dwellers of the State.
Traditional dance during the occassion